A cease-fire in Yemen called by the United Nations to get desperately needed humanitarian aid into the war-torn country failed to take hold Saturday as clashes and Saudi-led coalition air raids continued.
A spokesman for the coalition of Arab states that support Yemen's exiled president said the Saudi-led group was not bound by the U.N. declaration of a weeklong truce so humanitarian groups could safely send food and medicine to millions of people who have been suffering through months of fighting.
Both sides in the conflict – Shi'ite rebels backed by Iran and forces loyal to President Abd-Rabu Mansour Hadi – have blamed each other for not taking peace efforts seriously.
The cease-fire was to have begun Saturday and continue until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, around July 17, but there was no pause in fierce fighting between the two sides.
Airstrikes hit Houthi and Yemeni army units in the capital, Sana'a, and in the embattled southern cites of Taiz and Aden, where residents reported heavy artillery exchanges.
The United Nations has repeatedly attempted to negotiate a cease-fire between Hadi and the Houthi rebels whio seized control of Sana'a late last year.
The anti-Houthi coalition organized by Saudi Arabia began its air campaign in late March.
Since then large numbers of Yemeni families have fled several major cities to where fighting has been concentrated.